Paavo Nurmi : A northern legend

09 Aug 2007 04:31
Jean-Loup Fenaux
History


Paavo Nurmi is a finish long distance runner. Today, he may not be as famous as Nokia, but he did a lot to make Finland known in the world in this time.

It all happened during the 1920s, Finland had just gained its independence from Russia(in 1917) and was working hard to establish its place among the concert of free nations.

During those 10 short years, Paavo Nurmi dominated middle and long distance track and field races, winning no less than 9 gold medals and 3 silver medals in 3 Olympic :

  • 4 in Antwerp – 1920
  • 5 in Paris – 1924
  • 3 in Amsterdam – 1928
As for training Paavo was clearly ahead of his time. He alway ran with a stopwatch in hand and assigned himself quantity and quality training that none of his fellow runners endured at that time.
As a result, not only did he win 12 Olympic medals, but he also set 25 world record (from 1500 meters to 20 000).

His Olympic career was put to an end in the 1932 Olympiads in Los Angeles because the organizing committee considered him a professional.

Paavo never ran an Olympic marathon, but still two marathons have been named after him.

Paavo Nurmi died in 1973 and was honored with a state funeral.

‘Success in sport as in almost anything comes from devotion. The athlete must make a devotion of his specialty.’ – Paavo Nurmi


See also : All the marathons held in Finland

The photo of the Paavo Nurmi statue that stands near the Olympic Stadium, Helsinki has been take by Rod Monkey.